Archived—Recipient Bios

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Year: 2000 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Achievement Recipients

Russell Weil

School: Westmount Secondary School
39 Montcalm Drive
Hamilton, Ontario  L9C 4B1

Principal: Peter Nilsson
School Telephone: 905-385-5395
School Fax: 905-574-6020
School Website:
Grades/Subjects Taught: Music

Teaching Approach:

  • Never underestimate what people can do!
  • If it's not fun, it's not worth doing.
  • If you're going to make a mistake, make it loud.

Outstanding Achievements:

Transformed music department at Westmount:

  • enrolment has grown from seven to 18 classes in five years, with many students coming from outside the school's catchment area; enrolment led to hiring of two new teachers and the addition of jazz band and repertoire courses
  • increased student interest and participation led to creation of a third large concert ensemble and a second and third jazz big band
  • increase in number of students involved in music peer tutoring
  • increase in student-directed ensembles, including an award-winning brass quintet and small jazz and improvisation ensembles.

Promotes music performance trips to teach performance skills, life skills and teamwork:

  • more than 100 students are involved in every music department trip
  • Westmount won the award for the best school music program at the 1996 Heritage Music Festival in Boston and the Spirit Award at the Heritage Festival in Montreal.

Leads community music programs that give Hamilton-area students even more opportunities to develop musical skills; most notable is the Hamilton All Star Jazz Bands, which have recorded several CDs and played with some of Canada's top jazz musicians.

Rave Reviews:

"Russ was the reason I continued my studies in music after I finished high school. To say I owe him thanks would be an understatement, since his influence and ability as a music educator is largely responsible for my success as a performer." Former student

"The biggest compliment to a teacher is for his students to develop a love for his subject. Russ' students have developed a love for music in inner city schools, special schools and suburban schools." Fellow teacher